Ptolemaisch en Romeins Egypte

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Ptolemaisch en Romeins Egypte

Berichtdoor Abusir » Do Jun 28, 2007 4:05 pm

Ptolemaisch en Romeins Egypte

Woordje vooraf
In 2005 organiseerde het Egyptologisch departement van de Karelsuniversiteit een eenmalige egyptologische cursus voor het brede publiek. De cursus was gespreid over 8 weekends en behandelde de geschiedenis, de godsdienst, het dagelijkse leven en nog een hele hoop andere aspecten van het oude Egypte, van de predynastische tijd tot de Arabische periode, en van ’s morgens vroeg tot ’s avonds laat. De lezingen werden allen in het Tsjechisch gegeven, maar aangezien ik die taal nog niet zo goed beheers dat ik rechtstreeks een lezing in het Tsjechisch kan neerpennen, heb ik mijn bijdragen over de Ptolemaisch en Romeinse periode in het Engels geschreven, waarna mijn echtgenote zo vriendelijk is geweest om de teksten in het Tsjechisch te vertalen. Na overleg met de oprichter en administrator van Pr–Kmt, Philip Arrhidaeus, leek het ons geen slecht idee om af en toe een ingekorte versie van mijn Engelse teksten als bijdragen op de site te plaatsen.

Deze eerste bijdrage is een zeer algemene inleiding over Egypte in de Ptolemaisch en vroeg–Romeinse periode met extra aandacht voor de relatie tussen de Ptolemaische en Romeinse heersers en de traditonele/oudegyptische religieuze instellingen. Het betrof een lezing voor een geintereseerd leken publiek, waarin zeker niet alle aspecten van de periode aan bod kwamen, en een aantal thema’s slechts heel oppervlakkig en anderen dan weer meer in detail behandeld werden.

Tot slot wens ik alvast vooraf mijn excuses aan te bieden indien iemand op deze bijdrage wenst te reageren en ik daarop gedurende de eerstvolgende maand niets van me laat horen. Tot begin augustus zal ik zelden op het internet te vinden zijn ....


Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

1. Introduction
1.a. Graeco–Roman Egypt versus Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt
1.b. Bibliography

2. The Ptolemaic Period
2.a. Egypt as a province in the Empire of Alexander and his Successors: 332–304 BC
2.a.1. Alexander III in Egypt (332–331 BC)
2.a.2. The Province of Egypt (331–304 BC)
2.b. Ptolemaic Egypt as the major power in the Eastern Mediterranean World: 304–217 BC
2.b.1. International and national policies
2.b.2. The Ptolemaic Rulers and Egyptian religion
2.c. The rapid decline of Ptolemaic power inside and outside of Egypt: 217–168 BC
2.d. The gradual rise of Roman influence in Egypt: 168–30 BC

3. Roman Egypt
3.a. Roman rule over Egypt
3.b. The Roman Emperor and the Egyptian pharaonic ideal

1. Introduction
The Ptolemaic and Roman period are generally considered to be the final era of ancient Egypt. This epoch starts with the arrival of Alexander III, better known as Alexander the Great, in Egypt in 332 BC and it ends with the gradual division of the Roman Empire in an Eastern and Western part and the beginning of the Byzantine period in Egypt. This division of the empire starts already at the end of the third century AD with the reign of Diocletian and continues throughout the fourth century AD.

1.a. Graeco–Roman Egypt versus Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt
The term ‘Graeco–Roman period’ is commonly used for the seven centuries that make up this era, but raises an immediate question, essential to the study of the period. The term on its own seems to suggest a link, perhaps even continuity between these two periods. But, using the words of Naphtali Lewis, ‘is that a fact or a fiction?’ In other words, is there continuity or a break between these periods? And is this to be noticed in all aspects of this culture (political, religious, administrative....) or does it only come to the surface in certain aspects? Lately, scholars of both periods seem to have reached the conclusion that there are quite a number of differences between both eras.

– On a political level, Egypt is in both periods ruled by a foreign power. To the Ptolemaic monarch Egypt was however his independent state, with Alexandria as its capital. For the Roman emperor, Egypt was no longer an independent country but a province of the empire, ruled over by a prefect, and with the capital located in Rome.

– On the level of the administration, we notice that Greek remained the language of the administration throughout the entire period. But the administration of the country, the laws in use, the taxation system, and so forth differed quite extensively from one period to the other.

– When one takes a closer look at the Egyptian religion and temples, one notices on the one hand continuity in the temple plan between the Ptolemaic and Roman period. At the same time Egypt witnessed an entirely different attitude of the Ptolemaic monarch and the Roman emperor towards the traditional Egyptian religion, while vast changes took place in the organization of the temple (administration, privileges, possessions,…).

In the light of these and many other examples, it is thus more correct to refer to this period of Egyptian history as ‘Ptolemaic Egypt’ and ‘Roman Egypt’ rather than ‘Graeco–Roman Egypt’.

1.b. Bibliography
For a good introduction to Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, consult:
– Bowman, A.K., Egypt after the Pharaohs. 332 BC – AD 642, Berkeley 1986.
– Green, P., Alexander to Actium. The Hellenistic Age, London: Thames and Hudson 1990.
– Hölbl, G., A History of the Ptolemaic Empire, London – New York, 2001 (= translation with updated bibliographical references of the original German version: Hölbl, G., Geschichte des Ptolemäerreiches. Politik, Ideologie und religiöse Kultur von Alexander dem Grossen bis zum römische Eroberung, Darmstadt 1994).
– Hölbl, G., Altägypten im römischen Reich. Der römische Pharao und seine Tempel 1. Römische Politik und altägyptische Ideologie von Augustus bis Diocletian, Tempelbau in Oberägypten, (Sonderbände der Antiken Welt. Zaberns Bildbände zur Archäologie), Mainz, 2000, p. 9–46.
– Studies by Napthali Lewis, collected by A.E. Hanson in On Government and Law in Roman Egypt: Collected Papers of Naphtali Lewis, American Studies in Papyrology 33 (1995), and especially: “Greco–Roman Egypt: Fact or Fiction?”, p. 138–149, and “The Romanity of Roman Egypt: A Growing Consensus”, p. 298–305


2. The Ptolemaic Period
The Ptolemaic period of Egypt runs from 332 to 30 BC — or from the arrival of Alexander the Great to the death of Cleopatra VII and the occupation of Egypt by Roman legions. On the basis of the changing political situation of the country, it is possible to distinguish four main periods in the history of Ptolemaic Egypt. These four periods can be generally defined as follows:

1. Egypt as a province in the Empire of Alexander and his Successors: 332–304 BC
During the first period we witness the evolution of the country from a province, first in the Persian Empire (343–332 BC) and subsequently in the Empire of Alexander and his successors, to an independent nation under the control of a Greek–Macedonian royal house.

2. Ptolemaic Egypt as the major power in the Eastern Mediterranean World: 304–217 BC
The second period of Ptolemaic Egypt, which covers most of the third century BC, represents the golden age of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. During this time Ptolemaic Egypt reached its largest extension and became the most important nation in the Eastern Mediterranean. In Egypt, the Ptolemaic dynasty devised a rigid administrative system to gain most out of the rich natural resources of the country. The Ptolemaic dynasty also positioned itself in the role of the legitimate heirs of the native pharaohs in order to gain support from or placate the powerful priesthoods and the native population.

3. The rapid decline of Ptolemaic power inside and outside of Egypt: 217–168 BC
In a matter of less than half a century, Ptolemaic Egypt loses its leading position in the Eastern Mediterranean world. In this period, the country continuously faces internal uprisings, social problems, mutinies in the army, and loses control over most of its foreign possessions. The year 168 BC represents a major turning point in the history of the eastern Mediterranean world as Rome positions itself as the major Mediterranean power.

4. The gradual rise of Roman influence in Egypt: 168–30 BC
The continuous struggles among members of the Ptolemaic royal house for the throne of Egypt best characterize the last 150 years of Ptolemaic Egypt. Throughout the period we also witness how Rome increasingly intervenes in Egyptian internal affairs, settling the disputes between various members of the Ptolemaic royal family. In 30 BC Roman legions finally occupy Alexandria and bring an end to Ptolemaic Egypt.

Let us now take a more detailed look at the main events and evolutions in these four periods.

2.1. The province of Egypt in the Empire of Alexander and his Successors: 332–304 BC
2.a.1. Alexander III in Egypt (332–331 BC)

The history of Ptolemaic Egypt begins with Alexander the Great and his expedition against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC Alexander succeeded his father Phillip as king of Macedonia. Only two years in his reign Alexander crosses the Hellespont with Greek and Macedonian soldiers, carrying out his fathers’ plan of an expedition against the Persian Empire under Darius III. This journey would lead the Macedonian army from their homeland past the Syro-Palestine region, Egypt and the Persian heartland in present-day Iran all the way to India. The Persian ruler Artaxerxes III had occupied Egypt only a few years before Alexander set out on his military expedition. In 343 BC Artaxerxes had defeated the last native pharaoh of Egypt, Nectanebo II, and turned Egypt into a province or ‘satrapy’ — the Persian term for province — of the Persian Empire.

A mere decade later, the Persian Empire faced a series of internal and external problems and proved unable to stop the invading army of Alexander the Great. Following a series of successful battles in Asia Minor, Alexander quickly forced the Persian army to retreat towards their homeland. Instead of following the retreating army, Alexander first turned his attention to Egypt, where he spent the winter of 332–331 BC. With the occupation of Egypt Alexander became the first ruler in history who controlled the entire Eastern Mediterranean world. During his stay in Egypt, Alexander initiated the foundation of Alexandria, soon to be the capital of the Ptolemaic monarchs. In the spring of 331 BC Alexander left Egypt to conquer the entire Persian Empire, and he would never to return to Egypt. For the following 27 years, a Macedonian governor or “satrap” governed over the country.

2.a.2. The Province of Egypt (331–304 BC)
In the following decade, Alexander conquered most of the known world. But at the height of his power Alexander unexpectedly died in Babylon in 323 BC. At that point in time, there was no direct heir available to take control of the newly founded empire. The generals and close friends of Alexander reached a mutual agreement and concluded the so–called ‘settlement at Babylon’. The settlement proclaimed Alexander’s feeble–minded half–brother, Philippos III Arrhidaios, and the unborn son of Alexander, the future Alexander IV, joint rulers of the empire. In reality both kings would at no point in time have anything to say about the empire over which they supposedly presided. The empire was further divided into provinces and governed by Alexander’s generals and officers. The generals and officers eventually became known as the ‘successors of Alexander’ or the diadochoi – the Greek term for successors. At the time of the division of the territories in Babylon, Ptolemaios, son of Lagos and friend of Alexander the Great, had asked for and received the province of Egypt.

The ‘settlement of Babylon’ did not solve the problems of the succession of Alexander at all, but instead it resulted in a continuous tension between his former generals. On the one hand, a group of generals attempted to maintain a centrally controlled empire. In strong opposition to this group stood other diadochoi who wished to rule their own provinces like an independent kingdoms and expand their territories to the detriment of the other generals. This tension resulted in frequent clashes between the central government and the diadochoi on the one hand and between continuously changing coalitions of diadochoi on the other. For forty years, from 321 to 281 BC, and in a series of six wars, known as the ‘Wars of the Successors’, the former generals and friends of Alexander strove with all available means to strengthen their own position and expand their own territory and power. The borders of the provinces and the balance of power thus continuously altered and would remain to do so for the next three centuries — during which, one after another, these Hellenistic kingdoms would fall to the power of Rome.

Following the death of the nominal rulers, Philippos Arrhidaios and Alexander IV, the diadochoi started proclaiming themselves kings over their respective provinces and in 306 BC Ptolemaios officially became king of Egypt. Known to posterity as Ptolemaios I Soter, he is the first in a line of 15 rulers of Egypt to bear the name Ptolemaios and his successors — known as the Ptolemaic dynasty — would rule over Egypt until the death of Cleopatra VII almost three centuries later in 30 BC. This Ptolemaic dynasty is also known as the Lagid dynasty. This particular designation of the dynasty refers to the father of Ptolemaios I, Lagos.

At the end of the fourth century BC Egypt became once more and independent country, but it was not a native pharaoh who sat upon the throne of the country, but a Greek–Macedonian monarch. Due to the origin of the new royal house — in Macedonia — the fate of Egypt would from now one, more than ever before, be linked with events in the eastern Mediterranean world. The Ptolemaic monarch would always focus his attention first and foremost towards this part of the world and the history of Ptolemaic Egypt can thus only be understood in the context of the events shaping the eastern Mediterranean world at that time.

2.b. Ptolemaic Egypt as the major power in the Eastern Mediterranean World: 304–217 BC
2.b.1. International and national policies

The second period of Ptolemaic Egypt, which covers most of the third century BC, represents the golden age for the Ptolemaic Dynasty. During this time Ptolemaic Egypt reached its largest extension and became the most important nation in the Eastern Mediterranean world. Egyptian possessions included numerous islands in the Aegean Sea, including Cyprus, the region of Cyrenaica in present–day Lybia, and the territory of Koilesyria — the coastline and hinterland of present day Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Ptolemaic influence reached at this time even as far as modern–day Turkey. The main opponent of Ptolemaic Egypt became the Seleucid Empire. The Seleucid Empire was one of the many nations that, like Ptolemaic Egypt, had come into existence after the fall of the Empire of Alexander and his Successors. The core of the empire was based in present day Irak and Iran. Both the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empire vied for control over the area of Koilesyria. A total of six wars would be fought between both nations, in between 274 and 168 BC, over this particular region. For most of the third century BC Egypt had the upper hand in these conflicts.

In Egypt itself, the Greek–Macedonian rulers appear to have been well in control of their new homeland. The Ptolemaic government of Egypt is usually characterised as one of the most efficiently run and most hierarchical bureaucracies ever devised. The main aim of the newly installed administrative machine was the enrichment of the Ptolemaic royal house through a highly organised and tightly controlled economy, exploiting the natural resources of Egypt, such as grain, gold, and precious stones, to its fullest. The administration recorded and regulated the activities and obligations of all the subjects of the king in great detail to ensure maximum efficiency of production and profit. The rich resources of the country enriched the Ptolemies and allowed them to fund with great success a century of wars against its neighbouring nations.

2.b.2. The Ptolemaic Rulers and Egyptian religion
In order to gain support from or at least placate the powerful priesthoods and the native population for these administrative changes, the Greek–Macedonian monarch took on the role of the traditional Egyptian pharaoh. The institution of the pharaoh played a crucial role in ancient Egypt. The pharaoh was considered to be the mediator between the gods and men. He kept justice in the country and chaos at bay. It is simply impossible to imagine ancient Egypt without the presence of the pharaoh — the heart of all Egyptian institutions. It is quite clear that the Ptolemaic dynasty quickly recognised the importance and, moreover, the possibilities and opportunities that the traditional royal ideology offered them to peacefully control Egypt. From the earliest days of Ptolemaic dominance, the preservation of the traditional institutions of Egyptian religion and kingship became a fundamental part of Ptolemaic policy. At the same time certain privileges or benefits were given to powerful priesthoods. The Ptolemaic royal house developed especially close links with the important priesthood of the god Ptah in Memphis. With the aid of the priests of Ptah, the Ptolemaic monarchs were able to use the Egyptian royal ideology to legitimise their royal house in the eyes of the native Egyptians.

Numerous examples can be brought forward to illustrate the link that was made between the Ptolemaic dynasty and the native Egyptian pharaohs. The Ptolemaic royal house paid particular attention to two aspects:

1. The Ptolemaic ruler put great importance on representing himself as the rightful successor of the native Egyptian pharaoh. Each Ptolemaic monarch also linked himself with his Ptolemaic predecessors all the way back to Alexander the Great. The link with Alexander was of great importance since Alexander had been proclaimed the son of the god Amun by the oracle in the temple of Amun in the Siwa oasis. This confirmed him and his Ptolemaic successors as the legitimate heirs to the throne of Egypt.

2. At the same time, the Ptolemies always positioned themselves in opposition to the Persian Empire that had occupied Egypt in the decade before the so–called liberation under Alexander. Over time, the Persian Empire was identified with the Seleucid Empire — Ptolemaic Egypt’s main enemy in the third and first half of the second century BC. The Seleucid Empire was based in the mainland of the former Persian Empire, which allowed the Ptolemies to equate it with the Persian Empire.

Let us now take a closer look at some of the ways in which the Ptolemaic rulers, with the help of the Memphite priesthood, represented themselves as the traditional Egyptian pharaoh.

a. The city of Memphis, the ancient Egyptian capital of the Old Kingdom, remained a very important place in Ptolemaic Egypt. Initially the city featured as the Ptolemaic capital. After the Ptolemies had moved their capital to Alexandria, Memphis still remained the location where occasionally the coronation of the Ptolemaic pharaoh took place.

b. Like many native pharaohs, the Ptolemaic monarchs extravagantly funded the temple domains of the Egyptian gods. The rigid economic system imposed by the Ptolemies allowed them to provide funds for the restoration of temples, for the continuation of building projects on temple domains and even for the foundation of a series of new temples on a level never before seen in Egypt. From the Delta to Nubia, the Egyptian temple domains flourished at this time. Among the most important monuments initiated by the Ptolemies in the third century BC, we find for instance the well–known temples of the goddess Isis on the island of Philae and the temple of the falcon god Horus at Edfu.

Philae: http://img412.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pylon2nu3.png
Edfu: http://img412.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... urtni7.png

c. On the lavishly decorated walls of the many temples, the Ptolemaic monarch is depicted like the traditional pharaoh: smiting the enemies, and, especially, bringing offerings to the gods – an essential act of the traditional Egyptian pharaoh. The style of the decorations of the Ptolemaic period was based upon the typical style of the 26th and 30th dynasty — another link with the past. The only major difference in the reliefs of the Ptolemaic period with earlier times is the regular representation of the Ptolemaic queen next to the king. This is possibly an illustration of the increasing political power of the queens throughout the Ptolemaic era.

d. The Ptolemaic rulers also took on the five traditional royal titles. It is most interesting to take a closer look at these names since they are very informative. In the names, we almost always find:
* a reference to the king being chosen by the god. Ptolemaios III is for instance called “selected by the god Ptah”.
* a reference to the king being the rightful heir of his predecessor:
– Ptolemaios III is called in his cartouches “the excellent heir of the sibling loving gods”. The sibling loving gods are none other than his father and stepmother Ptolemaios II Philadelphos and Arsinoe II Philadelphos.
– His son, Ptolemaios IV calls himself “the excellent heir of the benevolent gods”, referring to his parents Ptolemaios III Euergetes and Berenike II Euergetes

e. The link each Ptolemaic monarch made with his deceased predecessors, all the way back to Alexander the Great, gradually resulted in the creation of a dynastic cult — a cult dedicated to the deified member of the Ptolemaic royal house. In the Hellenistic world of the fourth and third century BC the deification of mortal men — heroes and rulers — had become a common occurrence. In Egypt, a cult dedicated to the deceased Alexander the Great and another one for the deceased Ptolemaios I Soter was already at the beginning of the third century BC in vogue. Around 272 BC Ptolemaios II decided to join the living royal couple — none other than himself and his wife Arsinoe II — to the state cult of Alexander the Great. The royal couple would eventually become known as the Theoi Adelphoi — ‘the sibling–loving gods’ — or Ptolemaios II Philadelphos and Arsinoe II Philadelphos. The priest of the cult of Alexander III and the Theoi Adelphoi became the highest state priest in the land.

The state cult of Alexander and the Theoi Adelphoi or ‘Sibling–Loving gods’ would develop over the years in a collective dynastic cult as it started to include other — living — royal Ptolemaic couples, who became a divine couple. Thus we encounter for instance the ‘Benefactor Gods’ (Ptolemaios III and Berenike II), the ‘Father–Loving Gods’ (Ptolemaios IV and Arsinoe III) and the ‘Saviour Gods’ (Ptolemaios I and Berenike I). The nature of the cult implied the deification of individual members of the Ptolemaic family and it would become an essential component of the Ptolemaic monarchy. In other words, the ruling couple — and all their predecessors — became living gods.

Although the dynastic cult was in essence a Greek institution, traces of it can also be found on the walls in the traditional Egyptian temples. The scenes often portray the living king or royal couple bringing an offering to their divine predecessors. Several examples can be found on monuments within the precinct of the great temple of the god Amun in Karnak. On one of the entrance gates to the domain, erected by Ptolemaios III Euergetes I, we see this ruler offering incense to his deified father Ptolemaios II and his step–mother Arsinoe II. Ptolemaios III and his wife Berenike II also feature as gods in their own right — the so–called ‘Benefactor Gods’ — on another scene of this gate.

The ‘Benefactor Gods’:
http://img152.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... atexp0.png

On yet another scene, this time from the temple of the falcon–god Horus in Edfu, we witness Ptolemaios IV offering first to the three main deities of the temple: Horus, Hathor and Harsomtus. The three gods are followed by three divine couples: the parents, grandparents and great–grandparents of the ruling king, Ptolemaios IV. On the relief we recognise Ptolemaios III and Berenike II, Ptolemaios II and Arsinoe II, and Ptolemaios I and Berenike I. The dynastic of the Ptolemaic family became well established in Egypt and would function until the 1st century BC.

f. Another institution initiated by the Ptolemies at this time was the royal marriage between sibblings. The marriage between a royal brother and sister, which occurred for the first time between Ptolemaios II and Arsinoe II, would become a common occurrence in the Ptolemaic royal family. In connecting these unions with the marriages of the Greek gods Zeus and Hera and the Egyptian deities Osiris and Isis, the Ptolemies wished to stress the divinity of the royal couple. In a similar spirit, Ptolemaios IV married his own sister Arsinoe III, Cleopatra II married both her brother Ptolemaios VI and, after his death, her younger brother Ptolemaios VIII. On a related note, Ptolemaios VIII later also married his niece and stepdaughter Cleopatra III. Ptolemaios X first married his sister Cleopatra IV and, following a divorce on the order of his mother Cleopatra III, remarried with his other sister Cleopatra V Selene. Finally, Ptolemaios XII married his sister Cleopatra VI.

g. The Ptolemies also paid great attention to the animal cult. The animal cult had become very popular in Egypt in the centuries preceding the arrival of Alexander the Great. The Ptolemaic royal house especially favoured the cult of the Apis bull, a black bull with a white mark on the forehead, which was kept in the temple precinct of the god Ptah in Memphis. At the time the tale was spread that Persian emperor Cambyses had butchered a divine Apis bull many years before. This tale of course stressed the opposition between the ‘cruel’ Persian emperor and the benevolent Ptolemaic monarch, who brought offerings to the Apis bull.

These and other examples clearly illustrate the importance the Ptolemaic royal house paid to the traditional Egyptian institution of the pharaoh and the Egyptian religion. Although it is clear that the Ptolemaic rulers went through large expenses to maintain the traditional Egyptian religion and its institutions, we have to be very careful about what motivated them to act in this manner. The attention the Ptolemaic rulers paid to the traditional ancient Egyptian cult and religion does not necessarily imply that this was their religious belief. The attention paid to the traditional institutions seems to be motivated mainly to get the support of the powerful priesthoods and not out of pious beliefs. Throughout most of the third century BC, their attitude towards the traditional Egyptian religious institutions did provide the Ptolemaic rulers with the keys to legitimise their rule over Egypt

2.c. Decline of Ptolemaic Egypt: 217–168 BC
While throughout most of the third century the Ptolemaic dynasty successfully controlled Egypt, in the following half a century the country was faced with a series of grave internal and external problems. In the third major period of Ptolemaic Egypt, from 217–168 BC, we witness the very sudden and quick decline of the country as a major power in the Eastern Mediterranean world. With the exception of the island of Cyprus and the Cyrenaica in Lybia, Egypt would lose all foreign territories in less than 50 years.

A series of factors contribute to this sudden loss of power and influence. As we have seen, Egypt had been involved in wars for more than a century. At the end of the third century BC, the constant and thorough exploitation of the natural resources of the country by the Ptolemaic dynasty had finally stretched the Egyptian economy to its very limits. Letters and administrative documents of that period clearly illustrate that the social situation of the Egyptian peasants dramatically worsened at the end of the third century. We notice a flight of the peasants to the city, the appearance of bands of robbers in various areas of the land, and a rapid loss of control by the Ptolemaic house over Egypt.

For the first time the Ptolemaic rulers are confronted with a series of uprisings that shake the country and prevent the usual flow of resources to the royal house and its troops.
a. In 217 BC a revolt broke out among the Egyptian soldiers in the eastern Delta, followed by a peasant uprising against social injustice in the same area. The revolt would last for over 30 years and would only be put down in 185 BC
b. A decade later, in 206 BC, a large part of Upper Egypt, reaching from Thebes to Aswan, declared its independence from the Ptolemaic kingdom and up to 186 BC was ruled in succession by two native pharaohs: Herwennefer and Ankhwennefer.
Both uprisings heavily disturbed the Egyptian economy and forced the Ptolemaic rulers to concentrate their troops and attention in Egypt, leaving their foreign territories weakened. The Seleucid Empire, made use of the situation and took control of large parts of the possessions of Egypt in the Middle East.

The situation of Egypt became even worse in 204 BC — exactly one century after Ptolemaios I had declared himself pharaoh of Egypt — when Ptolemaios V died and his six year old son, Ptolemaios VI came to the throne. This started a long period of internal struggles for power among several fractions at the court at Alexandria. During this period of unrest, major changes also took place in the relationship between the royal house and the priests. In the second half of the third century BC it was the duty of high–ranking Egyptian priests to gather once a year at the court of the Ptolemaic monarch. At these meetings important matters regarding the cult and the temple organisation, such as the rights and privileges of the priests, were debated. In important cases the resolutions taken at the meetings were inscribed on stelae in the three languages: Greek, Demotic and hieroglyphs. The stelae were erected in the courtyards of the most important temples throughout the country. On the stele the Egyptian clergy proclaimed its loyalty to the Ptolemaic dynasty and received privileges in return. The best known of these decrees is of course the stone of Rosetta, currently in the British Museum in London.

Three stelae, dating in between 238 BC and 196 BC, illustrate a remarkable change in the relationship between the Ptolemaic ruler and the Egyptian priesthoods. When the Ptolemaic empire lost influence abroad and was faced with internal uprisings, the priests appear to have expected (and received) larger and larger concessions from the pharaoh in return for their support. While the Canopus stele of 238 BC shows the Ptolemaic ruler in perfect control of Egypt, the following two decrees — inscribed on the Raphia stele in 217 BC and the Stone of Rosetta in 196 BC — indicate that the Ptolemaic monarch started to lose control over the country and needed to make more and more concessions to the priesthoods to keep their support. Despite the precarious situation of the Ptolemaic empire, we notice for instance the foundation of the large temple of Kom Ombo in this period.

The situation reached its climax in 168 BC. The year 168 BC is a major turning point in the history of the eastern Mediterranean world. In 168 BC Seleucid emperor Antiochos IV had already conquered most of Egypt, stood before the walls of Alexandria and Ptolemaic Egypt would have fallen if not for the support of Rome. Although it may seem that Rome appeared as a ‘deus ex machina’ on the scene to save Ptolemaic Egypt from being conquered by the Seleucid Empire, contacts between Ptolemaic Egypt and Rome went back at least a century. In 273 BC for instance Ptolemaios II and Rome had signed a commercial and friendship treaty. In early July 168 BC Rome had just left the battle at Pydna victoriously, having defeated Macedonia, and now controlled most of the Macedonian–Greek Empire. No longer bound by a war with Macedonia, Rome sent a delegation, led by Popillius Laenas, to Alexandria, carrying an ultimatum in support of the Ptolemaic dynasty. The meeting that took place between Laenas and Antiochos IV has often been told and would not be out of place in a historical drama or movie. When Antiochos IV asked for time to consult with his advisors in regards to the ultimatum — that kindly requested him to leave Egypt with his troops or go to war with Rome — Laenas drew a circle in the sand around the Seleucid king. Laenas then asked Antiochos IV to give an answer to the ultimatum before stepping out of the circle. The idea of a war with Rome did not appeal much to Antiochos IV and he decided to withdraw his troops from Egypt. The victory at the battle of Pydna and the encounter at Alexandria thus established Rome as the major power in the entire Mediterranean world.

2.d. The gradual rise of Roman influence in Egypt
The final period of Ptolemaic Egypt, from 168 to 30 BC, can be seen as a death struggle of no less than almost a century and a half. Two evolutions characterise Ptolemaic Egypt in this period:
1. A series of endless internal struggles, family feuds and even civil wars between several members of the Ptolemaic royal house for the throne of Egypt.
2. A continuous increase of Roman influence and presence in Egypt. The intervention of Rome in Egyptian internal affairs was moreover often prompted by members of the Ptolemaic royal house themselves, who requested the Roman senate to intervene in the numerous conflicts between their family members regarding matters of succession.

The Roman senate is not only asked to intervene in these conflicts, a number of Ptolemaic rulers, such as Ptolemaios VIII and IX, also started to donate their empire to Rome in their testament. At first, little attention is given to these testaments. For a very long time the Roman senate was surprisingly weary of adding Egypt to the Roman Empire. The general fear among the senators was that whomever they would send to govern Egypt for Rome might be tempted to use the richness and the resources of the country for his own use against that of the Roman senate. Only Cyrenaica — the Ptolemaic territory in nowadays Libya — would be added to Rome. Ptolemaios Apion, son of Ptolemaios VIII and governor of Cyrenaica, had donated this region in his will to Rome in 96 BC. In 75 BC Rome took control of the Cyrenaica. In 51 BC the testament of Ptolemaios XII brought matters to a climax. The testament appointed Rome as the executor of his last wishes. Rome was declared guardian of Cleopatra VII and, at first, her older brother Ptolemaios XIII and later her younger brother Ptolemaios XIV.

Cleopatra VII and Ptolemaios XV Caesarion:
http://img412.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... riouq0.png

The tragedy and drama surrounding the life and death of Cleopatra VII, the last ruler of the Ptolemaic house, has turned this last queen of Egypt beyond doubt into the best–known representative of 300 years of Ptolemaic Egypt. Cleopatra’s attempts to re–establish Egypt as a major force in the Mediterranean world, her relationships with Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius and her tragic death at the bite of a viper have propelled Egypt’s last Ptolemaic queen into the position of one of the most unforgettable figures of history.

Cleopatra VII is in fact the last of a remarkable line of female queens of the Ptolemaic dynasty that starts two centuries before with Arsinoe II. In the beginning of the third century BC Arsinoe II set in motion a process that lead to an ever increasing importance assumed by the women of the Ptolemaic dynasty. This process would culminate in the independent reign of the great Cleopatra during the first century BC. At the same time a charming and a ruthless woman, Arsinoe’s way of life served as an example and source of inspiration for many subsequent queens and not in the least for her most famous successor, Cleopatra VII.

Although the exact impact Arsinoe II had on the politics of Egypt is still being debated, several of her female successors played an important and well–documented role in the politics of Egypt. One can trace the increasing prominence of women in the dynasty in the course of the second and first century BC. In the 170’s BC Cleopatra I was the first woman to succeed in taking over the guardianship of a young king, Ptolemaios VI, and being officially recognized as the regent. From 170 BC, her daughter Cleopatra II was an equal participant in the rule by the Ptolemaic monarchs — and brothers — Ptolemaios VI and Ptolemaios VIII. Under the latter king, Cleopatra II and/or her daughter Cleopatra III always featured after the king in the royal decrees as an equal representative of the royal will. Cleopatra II even organized nothing less then a civil war against Ptolemaios VIII in between 132 and 124 BC. At the end of the second century BC, Cleopatra III no longer limited herself to being the mere guardian of the underage king, Ptolemaios IX, but as an equal partner. In administrative documents and even in temple reliefs she supplanted the king. In the first century BC, queens Berenike III and Berenike IV ruled entirely alone over Egypt for a short period of time. The history of the Ptolemaic queens of Egypt would finally culminate in the independent reign of the well–known Cleopatra VII, who seized power to the detriment of her two brothers, Ptolemaios XIII and Ptolemaios XIV.

In the end, it was a roman civil war between Octavian and Marcus Antonius that would decide the fate of Ptolemaic Egypt. This civil war was cleverly presented by the Augustan propaganda machine as a war against a decadent eastern prince in the person of Cleopatra VII, instead of a war between two roman contenders for the throne of Caesar. The war was decided on September 2nd 31 BC, as Octavian triumphantly left the sea battle at Actium. The following invasion of Alexandria on August 1st 30 BC and the death of Cleopatra VII brought Ptolemaic Egypt to an end. Egypt thus became part of the Roman Empire.
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Romeins Egypte

Berichtdoor Abusir » Do Jun 28, 2007 4:13 pm

3. Roman Egypt
3.a. Roman rule over Egypt

In 30 BC Egypt became a part of the ever–growing Roman Empire. Although Greek remained the language of the administration, the government, administration, laws, and religious institutions of Ptolemaic Egypt underwent great changes in the following decades. The Roman province of Egypt became quite a different country when compared with the independent state of Ptolemaic Egypt. The new ruler of Egypt — the Roman Emperor — no longer resided in the country. The government over this new roman province was handed over to a Roman prefect, a member of the equestrian class. Augustus and the following emperors usually directly appointed the prefect. At the same time access to Egypt became restricted for most senators and leading members of the equestrian class of Rome. This had most likely to do with the vast economic opportunities, and the exploitation of the natural resources — grain, minerals and stone — that Egypt offered Rome and the emperor — and which the emperors did not feel like sharing or losing. During the course of the following centuries Egypt functioned first and foremost as a granary and quarry of the Mediterranean world and Rome in particular. Especially the region of the eastern desert of Egypt would be exploited like never before. Among the most important quarries in this region we find the granite quarries at Mons Claudianus, the porphyry quarries at Mons Porphyrites, and the gold mines at Bir Umm el–Fawakhir.

Umm el–Fawakhir: http://img412.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... ir1rw7.jpg

Augustus divided the country into three parts (epistrategy): Kato Chora (Lower Egypt or the Delta), Heptanomia (Middle Egypt) and Thebais. The Delta was later split into two parts, dividing the country into four administrative zones. Greek remained the administrative language and a lot of the terminology and titles in vogue in Ptolemaic times were kept in use, but their contents did change as Roman law came into practice in Egypt. Augustus also stationed three legions in Egypt to control the country. These legions were located in: Nicopolis – a new foundation just to the east of Alexandria –, Babylon or Old Cairo, and Thebes. This last legion saw action right at the beginning of the roman presence in Egypt as it had to suppress an uprising in the Theban–Coptite area around 30–29 BC. Five years later an expedition against and in Arabia Felix had to be abandoned as the Meroitic kingdom — from Nubia — invaded southern Egypt. Two military expeditions to the heart of the Meroitic kingdom settled all disputes in this area for several centuries. In fact, after these initial squirmishes and uprisings, Egypt seems to have turned into a rather peaceful province of the Roman Empire for the remainder of the first century BC and the whole of the first century AD. This even leads to the withdrawal of one of the three legions that controlled the country in the reign of Tiberius. The two remaining legions were now both stationed at Nicopolis. The natural resources of the country will however have made certain that Rome never really lost sight of this economically interesting province.

Most of the Roman emperors never paid a visit to Egypt. Of all the emperors of the Julio–Claudian Dynasty — the era of Augustus to Nero or from 30 BC to 68 AD — none even visited Egypt. The only time when Roman Egypt played a role of political importance in the affairs of the Roman Empire took place in 69 AD. Following the death of Nero in 68 AD, the Roman Empire was ruled over by four emperors in rapid succession. Following the emperors Galba and Otho, Vitellius became the third emperor in less than a years’ time. In opposition to Vitellius, the Roman legions stationed in Egypt successfully proclaimed Vespasianus emperor in Alexandria in 69 AD. Vespasianus is the first emperor in a century that paid a visit to Egypt — be it only to Alexandria.

Following the peace and prosperity of the first century AD, Roman Egypt, like many other parts of the Roman Empire, faced several uprisings and unrest throughout the second and third century AD. At the beginning of the second century AD Egypt also witnessed a Roman Emperor travelling up and down the Nile like never before — or after. In 129–130 AD Hadrianus travelled with his wife Sabina and entourage for almost eight months throughout Egypt. Next to a visit to the tomb of Pompeius, a triumphal welcome in Alexandria, a lion hunt in the Lybian desert, the foundation of the city of Antinoopolis in Middle Egypt in honour of his friend Antinoos, who drowned in the Nile at this site, the Emperor also spent some time in Thebes. It appears that Hadrianus did not travel farther south than Thebes, but a century later Emperor Septimus Severus made it as far as Philae, at the border with Nubia, during his journey in 199–200 AD which also included a stopover in Thebes.

One of the highlights for most Roman visitors to Thebes appears to have been a pre–dawn visit to the monumental statues of Amenhotep III on the west bank. The statues once formed part of the temple of the Eighteenth Dynasty ruler, but in Ptolemaic and Roman times the northern statue was known as the ‘Colossus of Memnon’. The greatest attraction of the colossus was the fact that it produced a sound at daybreak that was interpreted as ‘singing’. Apparently an earthquake around 27–26 BC had caused a fissure in the statue, which filled with moisture during the night and, with the heat of the morning sun, sublimated to produce a sound.

One of the most detailed accounts of the singing of the colossus was provided by the Greek geographer Strabo who visited the region slightly after the earthquake and remained highly sceptical about the experience: ‘It is believed that once each day a noise, as of a slight blow, emanates from the part of the latter (colossus) that remains on the throne and its base, and I too when I was present at the place with Aelius Gallus and his crowd of associates, both friends and soldiers, heard the noise at about the first hour, but whether it came from the base or from the colossus, or whether the noise was made on purpose by one of the men who were standing all around and near to the base, I am unable to assert, for on account of the uncertainty of the cause I am induced to believe anything rather than that the sound issued from stones thus fixed’ (Strabo, Geographica 17.1.46).

The Latin and Greek graffiti inscribed on the legs and pedestal of the statue however testifies that for a period of almost 250 years the voice of Memnon was indeed heard at daybreak by numerous visitors. Unfortunately, a well intended project to restore the statue for the visit of Emperor Septimus Severus in the year 199 AD appears to have unwittingly resulted in silencing Memnon forever. Other emperors to visit Egypt next to Hadrianus and Septimus Severus include Marcus Aurelius in the second century AD, and Caracalla and Diocletianus in the third century AD. None of their visits is however as extensive as the visit of Hadrianus.

3.b. The Roman Emperor and the Egyptian pharaonic ideal
The infrequent visits of the Roman emperor to Egypt, the location of the capital outside of Egypt, and the great social and administrative changes in the country also had an enormous impact on the traditional religious institutions of ancient Egypt. As we have seen, the institution of the pharaoh was of crucial importance in the traditional Egyptian religious system. The Ptolemaic rulers had made ample use of this system by positioning themselves as the typical pharaoh, in the footsteps of their native predecessors. In Roman times, Egyptian religious thought still centred upon the important role of the pharaoh as a mediator between the gods and men, and the system still had need of a pharaoh following the demise of the Ptolemaic dynasty. It must have come as a great shock to the religious institutions of Egypt, when it soon became clear that Augustus and the Roman emperors after him had no intention of taking on the role of the traditional Egyptian pharaoh. This situation undoubtedly created a serious crisis for the Egyptian priesthoods — but one that they were able to overcome in a most remarkable way.

Let us first take a look at the attitude of Augustus — and the subsequent emperors — towards the traditional Egyptian religious institutions and practices. Augustus had no intention in taking up the traditional role of the pharaoh and made this immediately clear. Many of his actions and decisions stood in opposition to the activities of the Ptolemaic rulers in their role as pharaoh.

– Augustus immediately broke of all bonds with the Memphite priesthood of Ptah — the main native ally of the Ptolemaic monarchy. Augustus refused to be crowned in Memphis like the traditional pharaoh, he refused to bring homage to the Apis bull in Memphis, and when in 23 BC the high priest of the god Ptah of Memphis dies, he refused to appoint a successor.

– Augustus also refused to create any links between him and the Ptolemaic dynasty. Unlike the Ptolemies, he did not ascertain his right to the throne of Egypt by referring to himself as the legitimate heir of the Ptolemies. On the contrary, he ended the 250–year old dynastic cult of the Ptolemies and refused to visit their graves in Alexandria. A cult of the emperor is established in Egypt — like in other provinces of the Roman Empire. In 13 or 12 BC a temple for the cult of the divine emperor is for instance in place in Alexandria and in Philae.

– Augustus also brought an end to almost all privileges of the priesthoods. Most of the land belonging to the temples was moreover claimed by the state, and the temple goods and the priests came under strict control of the state.

The temples did however continue to receive financial support from the state — but on a level much lower than before. In the first century of Roman Egypt — more specifically during the Julio–Claudian dynasty — a lot of activities continue on the temple domains. But the activities in this period seem to focus mainly on three specific regions of Egypt, which were of great strategic importance to Rome:

a. The first region is the dodekaschoinos or the so–called 12–mile zone. This area formed the frontier between Roman Egypt and Meroitic Nubia. Rome supported the construction of a series of new temples in this area, like Kalabsha, Dakka and Dendur, and let the work continue on the island of Philae, to assert their presence in the region that bordered Nubia and the Meroitic kingdom.

b. In the fertile oasis of the western dessert, like Kharga and Dakhla, Rome funded the construction of a series of fortresses and temples. The region formed the western border of Roman Egypt with a series of Lybian tribes and Rome wished to assert its presence in this fertile region.

c. The third region that received Roman support was the area surrounding Thebes and Coptos. This region at the Nile formed the endpoint of a series of routes that led through the eastern dessert from the quarries of stone and gold and from the ports at the Red Sea. The temple of Dendara received its pronaos at this time, while a series of new small temples, like in Coptos, Shanhur and el–Qal’a, were erected.

Dendara: http://img243.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pronaosia6.png
Coptos: http://img237.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... ra1zb8.jpg

These three regions form however an exception in the general attitude of the Roman emperors towards the traditional Egyptian institution of the pharaoh. In general the Roman emperors did not act like the traditional pharaoh. The institution of the pharaoh remained however central to the Egyptian belief system. The manner in which the Egyptian priests came to terms with this new reality and managed to find a compromise between the new political situation and their own religious concepts is most interesting and deserves some further attention. The Roman emperor might not have wanted to take up the role of the Egyptian pharaoh, but the Egyptian priesthoods nonetheless kept on portraying the Roman emperor as the traditional pharaoh. On the temple walls the Roman emperor still appears like his Ptolemaic predecessors in the guise of the pharaoh, performing the same age–old rituals that were considered crucial to the survival and welfare of Egypt. A major difference with all previous periods is that to the Egyptian priests it was no longer important who the individual pharaoh or emperor was. The pharaoh depicted on the temple walls was no longer an individual person or a specific Roman emperor, but he became a concept. To the priests it became no longer important who the pharaoh was, but that there was — at least on the walls of the temple — a pharaoh who acted according to the ancient traditions.

The loss of individuality of the Roman pharaoh can for instance be witnessed when reviewing the Egyptian names of Augustus. On several occasions the cartouches accompanying Augustus on the temple walls have remained empty — a typical example of the new concept that the individual ruler does not matter but the concept of the pharaoh. The inscribed cartouches of Emperor Augustus also illustrate the loss of individuality of the traditional pharaoh. Augustus is never referred to as Octavian or Augustus in his cartouches. He is named the ‘Roman’, or ‘Caesar’, or ‘Imperator’. Although the emperors following Augustus would have their name inscribed in cartouches, the practice of leaving the cartouches empty would continue throughout the period of Roman Egypt.

This does not imply that the Egyptian priests did not know who their emperor was as the scenes on the entrance gate to the temple of Deir Shalwit indicate. The few remaining scenes on the gate contain the names of several Roman Emperors involved in one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the Roman Empire in the years 68–69 AD. In a time span of a little more than a year, no less than four emperors sat on the throne of Rome: Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespasianus. With the exception of Vitellius, the three other emperors feature in the guise of a pharaoh on the entrance gate. The presence of Galba and Otho is all the more remarkable since, unlike Vespasianus, they only ruled Rome for a few months and the small temple of Deir Shalwit is the only Egyptian monument on whose walls they are portrayed! This clearly illustrates that the priests were very well aware of the political changes in the empire.

Deir Shalwit: http://img237.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... ontwm0.png

The Roman emperor was also bequeathed with another typical title of the traditional pharaoh: the so–called Horus name. Most pharaohs in Egyptian history had their individual Horus name. The Horus name of the Roman emperor was no longer an individual name, but it was transferred from Augustus onwards onto every new emperor. The Horus name ceased to be an individual name, and became the official name for all Roman emperors. The name was already established during the reign of Augustus most likely still by the Memphite priesthood. This standardised Horus name of the Roman emperors is extremely interesting. The typical Horus name consists of two parts. The first part is a series of epithets, describing the pharaoh. In total some 70 examples of the name have been found on Egyptian monuments – dating from Augustus to Caracalla. Not a single Horus name contains all basic epithets – 10 different types have been distinguished. The epithets are:

“The mighty of arm, who strikes the foreign lands, great of strength, the beautiful child, sweet of love, protector of Egypt, king of kings, chosen by Ptah, the father of the gods.”

These epithets were taken from the names of earlier native pharaohs and from the Ptolemaic monarchs, in an attempt by the priesthood to link the Roman emperor, through his Egyptian title, with past pharaohs and present him as the legitimate ruler.

The second, more extensive part of the Horus name gives an overview of what the priests considered to be the ideal pharaoh. At least 11 examples are known of the extended version of the Horus name. Examples are found in the Opet temple in Karnak, from Dendara, Kalabsha, Esna, Shanhur, and Kom Ombo. They are dedicated to Augustus, Claudius, Vespasianus, and Domitianus. The second part of the Roman Horus name contains the following:

“The Pharaoh has taken the kingship of Ra on the throne of Geb so that he may protect the inheritance of Shu. He enters Egypt in the joy of the people and in the joy of the gods and goddesses. He has taken possession with his power, like Ra shines in the horizon. He is a sovereign, a ruler, the son of a ruler. It is his orders that reach to the ends of heaven. He is a wall of bronze around Egypt. The living Apis bull loves him and he proclaims to him a long and prosperous time because he has brought offerings to the gods. He has protected all divine animals. He has established the laws of the entire land like Thoth, while bringing maat to Ra”.

The text describes the pharaoh as the legitimate heir to the throne of Egypt. He is the chosen one of the gods and the son of the previous legitimate ruler. The Horus name also focuses on the close relationship between the pharaoh and the Apis bull and the offerings brought to the gods by the pharaoh. In brief, the Horus name of the Roman emperor summarises in a few sentences the essence of the role of the Egyptian pharaoh.

The Horus name of the emperor is also almost a summary of all acts Augustus refused to do when conquering Egypt. Unlike the traditional pharaoh, Augustus refused to be crowned, did not proclaim himself to be the rightful heir of the Ptolemies, did not pay homage to the Apis bull, refused to offer to the Egyptian gods and so on. On the walls of the temples, the Roman emperor was however described and depicted in the manner of the traditional pharaoh. To the Egyptian priesthoods it appears to have sufficed to have their concept of pharaoh portrayed on the temple walls in order for their religion to survive the changes that took place in Roman times. The traditional concept of the pharaoh thus continued on an ideological level.

For more information on the Roman Horus name, consult:
– J.–C. Grenier, ‘Le protocole pharaonique des empereurs Romains’, Revue d’Egyptologie 38 (1987), p. 81–104.
– J.–C. Grenier, Les titulatures des empereurs Romains dans les documents en langue égyptienne, (Papyrologica Bruxellensia 22), Brussel 1989.


Throughout the first and second century AD the priesthoods managed to continue their activities on the temple domains. The second half of the third century AD witnessed the gradual closure of most temples and the retreat of the traditional Egyptian religion to the private sphere of the home. With Christianity on the rise, parts of temples were transformed into churches (e.g. Luxor, Medinet Habu) or there were monasteries erected in their stead (e.g. Deir el–Bahari: the monastery of Phoibammon, or Deir el–Medina).

At the end of the third century AD unrest in Upper Egypt, caused by invading Nubian (the so–called Blemmyes) and Lybian nomadic tribes among other influences, led to a major reorganisation of Egypt under emperor Diocletianus. Upper Egypt became an independent Roman province, the Thebais, while Middle Egypt and the Delta formed the actual province of Egypt. Two legions were at that time stationed in the province of Thebais and at least part one legion if not both legions used Luxor as its base. To house the troops the temple of Luxor, which had been out of use for half a century, was transformed into a military camp at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth century AD.

At this time we also witness the gradual division of the empire in an eastern and western part. While in the second century AD Rome generally still was in control of Egypt, during the course of the third century AD we witness a general weakening of the grip of Roman emperors on their empire and especially on the eastern provinces, such as Egypt. The end of the third and the beginning of the fourth century is often seen as the beginning of the transition from Roman Egypt to Byzantine Egypt.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Empire

To some scholars this process already begins with the reign of Diocletian in 284 AD, while other researchers focus on the period around 311 – 313 AD or the end of the official persecution of Christianity and the beginning of the reign of Constantine. It is obvious that during the reigns of both Diocletian and Constantine important administrative changes took place in the Roman Empire. One other event also had a major impact on the position of Egypt: the foundation of Constantinople, present–day Istanbul, in 324 AD. This new imperial city was quickly recognised as the eastern counterpart of Rome — and undermined Alexandria’s traditional position as the first city of the Greek–speaking east. This also diverted the resources of Egypt away from Rome and the West and towards Constantinople instead — linking Egypt to the new centre of the eastern Mediterranean world and bringing Egypt slowly but surely into the Byzantine period.

It is at this point in time that I wish to end my overview of the main events of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt and I hope that I have been able to provide you with an interesting introduction to both periods.
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Berichtdoor Philip Arrhidaeus » Wo Jul 11, 2007 6:30 pm

Erg bedankt om dit hier te plaatsen, Abusir.

:D

Voor zover ik er mag of kan over oordelen:
je geeft ons een beknopte, maar klare kijk op deze periode(s), met een overzichtelijke structuur van de hoofdpunten zonder dat de belangrijke détails van de geschiedenis vergeten worden.

Daarom heb ik er een 'Sticky' van gemaakt.

Ik had ook direct de neiging om mijn vroegere – toegegeven: zeer weinige - lectuur over deze periode op te zoeken en détails te raadplegen over Griekse, Romeinse, en Perzische aangelegenheden. (Om tot de constatering te komen dat ik hierover ondertussen enorm veel vergeten ben.)

Voor de overzichtelijkheid heb ik deze post gesloten en dus:
Reacties op dit bericht volgen in afzonderlijke topics.
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